The Accomplished Solopreneur

Issue 23.06

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The top 4 problems all solopreneurs struggle with (#1)

Over the next 4 weeks or so I will be looking at the top four (or five) problems all solopreneurs struggle with - and how to deal with them.

I would love to hear if you think there’s something I missed - just reply to this email.

I’ve worked with enough (hundreds) of solopreneurs now to recognize there are 4 big problems all of us struggle with.

The top four problems are:

  1. I’m overwhelmed (and I don’t know what to focus on next)
  2. I need more leads (marketing)
  3. I don’t know how to do XYZ
  4. I don’t know if I’m doing it right

The first three problems can be solved with a combination of mindset and skillset. The fourth problem requires a bit of outside help.

Mindset and skillset

Solving these problems requires a shift in mindset and an improvement in skillset.

On the mindset side of things, solving the problems requires a deeper understanding of the problem, which will give you the ability to think about the problem in different ways. When your understanding is deeper, and you have new ways of thinking about things, your ability to solve the problem becomes stronger.

You may also need to learn new skillsets. For example, if you’re not very good with marketing, you’re going to have to up your marketing skillset.

Mindset and skillset work together to solve a problem. Developing a skillset also requires that you change, or evolve, your mindset.

Read on and let me know how many of these you suffer from.

Problem 1: I’m overwhelmed

In a solopreneur business, you (by definition) have to do everything. From marketing to sales to building a website, keeping your admin up to date and delivering your products or services. And everything else.

No wonder we’re overwhelmed. And to add insult to injury, you have to keep the pot boiling while you’re building or scaling your business. So time is limited, demands are endless, and we have to deal with unexpected problems as they pop up.

Overwhelm skillset

The deal with overwhelm, you need to develop the skills to:

  • get everything out of your head
  • group related things together (so you have to deal with fewer things)
  • pick one thing to work on
  • focus on that thing exclusively until it’s solved (or at least substantially progressed)

In principle, it’s not that difficult - but you also have to change your mindset.

Overwhelm mindset

The mindset part of the problem requires that you develop the ability to focus on one thing at a time - that thing you picked using your skillset.

The fact is that we can only work (effectively) on one thing at a time. Multitasking is not just a myth, it also slows you down as you jump from one task to another and don’t really solve anything.

There’s a little bit of skillet involved that will help your mindset. Once you’ve realized that you can only make good progress if you focus on one thing at a time, you have to reduce (or eliminate) external distractions like notifications. This is mostly a technical skillset (turning notifications off) and setting up your work environment to minimize external distractions.

But you also need to minimize or eliminate internal distractions (mind chatter). This requires discipline and patience, but the good news is that you can develop that discipline.

…and I don’t know what to focus on next

Sometimes, finding the next thing to focus on is as simple as picking one thing - any thing - and work on that until it is solved.

But you can apply a little logic to find the most important thing to work on next:

  • Validate your niche. You have to solve a real problem for a very well-defined audience. This requires that you validate (ask your market) if the problem is real and needs to be solved. In the Tornado Method, these are the Building Blocks of your business.
  • Then you need to ensure your positioning is relevant. This requires that you express the problem (and the solution) in terms your target audience understands.
  • With relevant positioning, your marketing will be more effective. You just have to show up consistently and frequently, with marketing messages based on your positioning.
  • And finally, you have to nurture your leads, establishing your authority as an expert and building trust with your target market.

Again, simple in principle, but making it work in practice requires that you choose just one and focus on that until you’ve substantially solved the problem.

Here’s help

To develop these skills and see how you can change your mindset, download The Overwhelm Manual from my website. (The Overwhelm Manual will eventually become part of a paid product, so get it while it’s still there!)

Next week, problem #2 - I need more leads.